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Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft

Shaping the Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft 

To maintain U.S. dominance in assault-utility rotorcraft, the Army is making the launch of the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) a cornerstone in its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative to create a  highly capable family of aircraft, to deliver capabilities the services will need to deter, fight and win in the years to come.

FRLAA will be the successor to the venerable UH-60 Black Hawk, the mainstay of the tactical-utility helicopter fleet for the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and some allied forces. The UH-60 joined the service in 1979 and saw action Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. The Black Hawk has changed a lot over the last four-plus decades, thanks to upgrade programs led by Sikorsky and key suppliers like Honeywell, which help keep an aircraft introduced during Cold War relevant for today’s service member.

What is the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft?

When it enters service around 2030, FLRAA will provide the Army and other operators with an extremely versatile aircraft that can accomplish a wide range of missions including tactical assault, medium lift and medical evacuation. The new aircraft will offer increased speed, range, survivability, maneuverability and payload capacity compared to the UH-60.

With these capabilities – and more – the Army will be able to reclaim its technology edge and ensure its readiness to counter any transregional, multi-domain and multifunctional threats U.S. servicemembers will face in the decades to come.

As always, the Army is also keeping a close watch on acquisition, operating and maintenance costs. They are looking for a solution that is highly reliable and easy to maintain, especially by crews in the field. FLRAA may share common engines, avionics and other systems with the other four rotorcraft in the FVL family to improve interoperability, improve logistics and maintenance processes, and reduce costs. The Army is leading the development process, though the new aircraft may also be used by other armed forces or commercial customers.  

Two aerospace industry teams are competing to develop the FLRAA. A team led by Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing is proposing the DEFIANT X® helicopter for the Army’s consideration while a Bell Helicopter team is proposing the V-280 Valor, a tilt-rotor aircraft.

Honeywell brings advanced capabilities to FLRAA

Building on decades of vertical lift innovation, Honeywell offers multiple technologies that can enhance the performance of Army rotorcraft. The company has been helping U.S. and allied forces achieve their missions since the earliest days of powered flight and today we deliver a wide range of products, services and software solutions for all kinds of military helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

For example, the powerful and efficient Honeywell T55-714A is on the DEFIANT FLRAA demonstrator. The T55-714A is the newest CH-47 Chinook engine in the field and an evolved version of the engine that has powered every CH-47 Chinook helicopter flight since the first one in 1961. Honeywell has an even newer version, the T55-714C which will enable the CH-47 to fly farther and carry more weight under challenging conditions than ever before.

The next iteration, the HTS7500, takes engine performance and efficiency to a whole new level. It’s 42% more powerful than the T55 and offers a low total weight compared to other engines in its horsepower class. All that means the HTS7500 can fly farther and faster, with a higher power-to-weight ratio than  comparable engines.

Proven Honeywell technology for the cockpit and cabin can deliver new capabilities to the FLRAA platform. We can provide the industry’s most advanced cockpit displays, navigation and guidance systems, 3D weather radar, and the world’s fastest, most reliable satellite communications systems to provide the kind of connectivity armies need in the fully connected battlespace.

Condition-based maintenance (CBM) is a priority as the Army looks to find new and better ways to maintain its future helicopter fleet. Honeywell pioneered Health and Usage Maintenance System (HUMS) technology for rotorcraft more than 30 years ago. Now, we’re taking capabilities to the next level with innovative connected maintenance solutions.  HUMS is being used on both the Defiant and Raider demonstrators today.

Honeywell can access more datapoints on the aircraft than ever before and we’ve got the expertise to use that data to formulate predictive maintenance trends, create usage-based maintenance models and deliver a sleeker, more efficient approach to maintenance. A CBM approach enables longer maintenance intervals, reduces downtime and improves mission effectiveness.

FLRAA is an integral element of the Army’s drive to modernize its vertical lift fleet and provide servicemembers with the capabilities they need to succeed on the complex and challenging battlefield of the future. Honeywell’s unique portfolio of capabilities will help the Army and the industry team it selects design, launch and sustain the next-generation of rotary-wing aircraft.  

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